Internet Speed and Reliability

Reliable and relatively fast Internet access is essential for success in online courses. You should expect to be online from one to four hours per day for the full duration the course. You will also need at least broadband or high-speed Internet access. This is measured by the amount of information that you can download and upload in a certain amount of time.

Internet Speed Test

Test the speed of your Internet connection from the location where you will be spending the most time online during the course. The upload and download rates are specified in Kbps. You should have at least 768 Kbps for both. Your download speed will be faster than your upload speed. You do not need to specify your email address or zip code in order to use this gadget. Just select Start.

What Affects Internet Speed?

Your Internet speed can vary from moment to moment based on a number of factors. If you share your Internet connection with other devices (e.g., other computers, game consoles), your speed will change depending on what those devices are doing. For example, if your PlayStation3 is downloading a large system update, your computer's download speed will be slower. Your Internet speed is also affected by other tasks running on your computer. If you are watching a Netflix video while trying to access online course materials, your download speed will be slower. If you notice that course-related activities are taking longer than usual, stop any other Internet activity that may be contending for access or wait for these other activities to finish.

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High-Speed?

The FCC defines high-speed access as at least 768 kilobits per second (Kbps) in at least one direction, either upstream from your computer to the Internet (i.e., upload) or downstream from the Internet to your computer (i.e., download).